Outdoor Living More Essential Than Ever

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This 2022 outdoor living trends piece highlights six ideas homeowners will covet. 

Over the past two years, how we relate to, interact with, and utilize everyday spaces has been reimagined. From where we work, to how we travel and shop, to the ways and frequency with which we use the indoor and outdoor spaces of our homes, much has changed. As consumers everywhere continue to re-evaluate where and how they spend their time, outdoor living has never had a brighter moment in the spotlight.

“While much of what a post-pandemic world will look like long-term remains to be seen, one thing is clear – outdoor living space is more essential than ever,” says Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex Company , the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, and leader in high-performance, low-maintenance outdoor living products. 

“No matter where or how we live, there is continued demand for flexible outdoor areas where people can safely gather, appreciate nature, or simply enjoy a change of scenery,” Adkins says. “As we continue to navigate and adjust to new ways of living in the coming year, outdoor spaces will play a key role and will become even more important and meaningful.”

Each year, Trex captures input from consumers, contractors, retailers, and industry insiders to compile its annual Outdoor Living Forecast. Here are the top trends and predictions Trex and industry experts have identified for outdoor living in the year ahead.

1. The Outdoor Den

Gone are the days of decks and patios that might be used to host a BBQ once or twice a year. Now, homeowners are seeking outdoor living areas where they can relax, watch their favorite shows, host a movie night with friends, play games and truly live every day.

1 - Outdoor Den

As a result, deck designs are taking on new shapes and styles, from mid-century to modern. Outdoor dens and sunken outdoor living areas–inspired by the popular indoor trend from the 1960s–are expected to see a resurgence in 2022, and they’ll be outfitted with all the comforts and conveniences of the indoors, from upholstered furnishings and fully appointed kitchens to bars, big-screen TVs, surround sound and more!

“The concept of the den originally gained popularity for its ability to bring everyone in the home together in a relaxed, comfortable setting,” notes Adkins. “Bringing this concept outdoors and allowing homeowners to enjoy that same comfort and connection is the very definition and goal of outdoor living.”

2. Activity Zones

As our homes have become offices, classrooms, fitness facilities–you name it–space has become a precious commodity. So, it’s no surprise that nearly 60% of designers expect rooms that serve multiple functions–both indoors and out–to grow in popularity in 2022 and beyond. To optimize the usability of outdoor space, look at dividing the space into multiple activity zones–spaces dedicated to various activities from relaxing and dining to areas for play, work, and sanctuary.

2 - Activity Zones

A pergola is ideal for instantly framing and defining a space. A relatively easy addition to any deck or yard, pergolas create the look and feel of an outdoor room while adding a distinct architectural element. Of course, its main purpose is providing shade–essential for enhancing visibility of laptop screens and devices when working or learning from home, as well as offering cool relief on hot days.

Another way to integrate dimension into an outdoor space is with lattice . These stylish and versatile panels not only act as dividers for activity zones, but also minimize unsightly views.

And, don’t overlook the space beneath an elevated deck. Adding an under-deck drainage system, like Trex RainEscape , will not only protect a deck’s substructure from moisture damage, it will create dry space that can be used for storing seasonal items or be used as bonus living space fully outfitted with furnishings, lighting , ceiling fans, and entertainment components. Because Trex RainEscape installs above the joists, it allows homeowners to finish the space with any kind of decorative ceiling or soffit on the underside of the joists, to give the space a completely finished look.

3. Privacy, Please

The past two years have left us craving not only connection but also increased safety and serenity. Thus, privacy is expected to be one of the biggest outdoor living trends for 2022. With backyards being used for everything from meditation and exercise to rest and relaxation, homeowners are seeking ways to enhance seclusion.

3 - Privacy

With this in mind, Structureworks, the makers of Trex Pergola and Trex Lattice have created Trex Privacy, a new series of sturdy, stylish, and low-maintenance aluminum privacy wall panels. Offered in both permanent and moveable options, these decorative panels are available in multiple patterns and colors to complement the aesthetic of any outdoor setting and are ideal for enhancing privacy around decks, patios, and pools.

Another popular option is to incorporate privacy walls using cladding or leftover deck boards. An easy DIY project, these half walls create visual separation while adding a modern touch to any outdoor environment.

4. Eco-Friendly and Easy-to-Maintain

According to industry insiders , sustainability will be a cornerstone of home design and the products consumers are seeking in 2022, as homeowners assess the environmental impacts of their homes and purchasing decisions. Equally important are materials that are easy to maintain without requiring a lot of time, effort and expense.

4 - Eco-Friendly

Composite decking falls right in this sweet spot. Built on green values, Trex composite decking is manufactured from 95% recycled materials and has a 56% lower carbon footprint than pressure-treated lumber. One of the largest recyclers of plastic film in North America, Trex repurposes approximately 850 million pounds of polyethylene plastic and reclaimed wood scrap each year in the making of its outdoor living products.

“Today’s time-stretched consumers increasingly opt for lower-maintenance materials that deliver on performance and sustainability,” Adkins explains. “Unlike wood, high-performance composites like Trex decking resist fading, staining, scratching, and mold–and won’t rot, warp, crack, or splinter. No sanding, staining, or painting is required, and food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water.”

5. Curve Appeal

In a marked departure from the clean, streamlined looks of recent years, curves will make a comeback in 2022. Contractors already are reporting increased demand for arched windows, doors and openings, along with curved footprints for porches, decks, and walkways for landscaping.

5 - Curve Appeal

“Curves add character to any setting and create a truly custom look,” Adkins offers. “Trex outdoor living products give homeowners and contractors the freedom to design to every curve of their imagination.”

Many lines of Trex composite decking can be curved, along with Trex Signature Railing . This line of durable, low-maintenance aluminum railing delivers sleek sophistication with a range of infill options, including traditional spindles, horizontal rods, mesh panels, and glass inserts.

6. Outstanding Outdoor Kitchens

Homeowners everywhere have invested more in their kitchens than ever before – both indoors and out. As demand continues to soar for all things al fresco, from luxury grilling stations and elaborate bars to specialty features like pizza ovens, smokers, and refrigerated storage, demand for cabinetry is also on the rise.

6 - Outdoor Kitchens

The Trex Outdoor Kitchens collection features a luxurious lineup of stainless steel cabinetry solutions in colors and styles options that allow designers and homeowners to create functional spaces that rival interior kitchens–all crafted to withstand and endure exposure to the elements.

“Outdoor living is no longer restricted to spring and summer, nor reserved for certain parts of the country,” adds Adkins. “Thanks to new high-performance materials and innovative design approaches, people everywhere are transforming their outdoor spaces into multi-seasonal extensions of their homes.”

For more outdoor living ideas and inspiration, visit Trex .